Russian troops stole all the tractors from a farm equipment dealer in the occupied city of Melitopol and transported them over a thousand kilometers to Chechnya only to find that the vehicles had been blocked from a distance.
A Ukrainian trader told the story to CNN International, following a growing number of reports of thefts of grain, building materials and agricultural equipment attributed to Russian troops. There are also reports of looting in private homes.
According to CNN, the operation to transport valuable equipment from a John Deere dealership in Melitopol, a Ukrainian city occupied by Russian forces since March, demonstrates that military transport is being deployed as part of the assault. One of the trucks filmed by surveillance cameras had a white “Z” painted on it, says the television channel. The materials, which were taken over the last few weeks, will have been valued at almost five million euros.
The stolen machinery is equipped with GPS, which allowed the trip to be tracked. The last known location was the village of Zakhan Yurt in Chechnya. CNN did not reveal the name of the source, for security reasons, write.
“When the invaders took the stolen harvesters, they realized they couldn’t even turn them on,” says the source, quoted by CNN. “Even if they only sell them for parts, they will get some money”, he laments.
Last week, the Mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, published a video showing a line of trucks leaving the occupied city allegedly loaded with grain. “They robbed the town’s agrarian complex along with the private farms,” she said.
At the beginning of the war, they circulated on social media Ukrainian-driven tractor videos who stole tanks abandoned by Russian troops.